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Federer defeats Russell at French Open

AP PhotoTop-seeded Switzerland's Roger Federer backhands to Michael Russell, of the United States, during their first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday May 29, 2007. Federer won 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
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PARIS (AP) — Even if Roger Federer wasn’t thrilled about it, the overnight rain delay at the French Open didn’t hurt his game. The top-ranked Swiss star beat Michael Russell of the United States 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 Tuesday in a first-round match at Roland Garros that started a day earlier.

Federer, who is bidding for a fourth straight major title and a career Grand Slam, led 6-4, 4-1 before rain halted play Monday. He returned to center court with sun breaking through the clouds Tuesday and quickly earned his spot in the second round.

“It’s not easy,” Federer said. “It’s kind of cool today, windy, been raining the last few days. So we haven’t been having much of a chance to hit much tennis balls.”

Federer didn’t face a break point, winning 78 percent of points on his serve.

“I served well,” said Federer, a 10-time Grand Slam champion who will next face Thierry Ascione. “And I was able to return his serve, and I was able to break him and it was a solid performance.”

Guillermo Canas, who beat Federer twice this year, reached the second round by defeating Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. Canas served a 15-month ban for doping that ended in September.

“Oh, it’s great to be here,” said Canas, who tested positive for a diuretic in 2005. “It’s great to be in the French Open again. It’s great to play my first Grand Slam after my suspension.”

Filippo Volandri advanced by defeating Paul Capdeville of Chile 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. The Italian beat Federer at the Rome Masters.

Jelena Jankovic, one of the favorites heading into the French Open because of her win at the Italian Open earlier this month, advanced by beating Stephanie Foretz of France 6-2, 6-2.

The fourth-seeded Serb converted four of her five break points in the first set, and then broke her unseeded opponent three more times in the second.

“You don’t play your best tennis in the first round,” said Jankovic, who was broken twice in the first set. “It was a little bit slow and the balls were quite heavy.”

The 22-year-old Jankovic, who is ranked fifth, pulled out of the semifinals of last week’s clay-court event in Strasbourg because of gastroenteritis.

“I recovered well and I’m ready to play,” Jankovic said.

Also advancing was No. 6 Nicole Vaidisova, 2004 runner-up Elena Dementieva, No. 18 Marion Bartoli, No. 23 Francesca Schiavone and No. 28 Mara Santangelo. No. 11 Nadia Petrova of Russia lost to Kveta Peschke of Germany 7-5, 5-7, 6-0.

Vaidisova reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, but she had been hindered by injuries recently.

“For the last week and half I’ve been pain free,” the 10th-ranked Czech said. “But of course I’m lacking some matches.”

In men’s play, No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny advanced when Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic pulled out after only nine points in the first game of the match because of a back injury.

“I really wanted to play today, actually. But I have a little pain in my back, so one more day rest is good,” said Youzhny, who has reached three finals this year. “After Hamburg, I only practiced, so I think one more day for my back is good.”

Youzhny will next face Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador, who advanced when Alexander Peya retired with digestive problems.

Seventh-ranked Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, No. 9 Tommy Robredo of Spain, No. 11 Richard Gasquet, No. 18 Juan Ignacio Chela and No. 27 Jurgen Melzer of Austria also reached the second round. No. 30 Julien Benneteau of France, a quarterfinalist last year, lost to Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.

Ljubicic, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, had lost 15 of his 30 first-round matches at Grand Slam events.

Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands, a surprise finalist at Roland Garros in 2003, played in his first Grand Slam in almost three years but lost to Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Verkerk, who has been slowed by a long-term shoulder injury, was cheered on by a loud group of orange-clad Dutch fans.

Two-time defending champion Rafael Nadal was scheduled to play Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the late match on center court.

Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo will play no earlier than Wednesday.

The first two days of the tournament were marked by rain. Only 14 matches were completed before Tuesday.


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